by ilene - September 10th, 2010 5:08 pm
What does Wall Street have to do with “The Wire“? Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Tom Ferguson took to the streets of Baltimore with the Real News Network to explain. There, boarded-up buildings and screaming police sirens demonstrate what happens when communities are left on the hook for bankers’ bets turned sour. Ferguson explains how “collateral damage” accumulated when unaffordable loans that were pushed on the people of Baltimore collapsed and brought down the price of houses around them. He points out that without a steady tax base, no one will make loans to the city, which, like many others, is desperate for funds. “It’s really a Catch-22,” says Ferguson.
What the people of “The Wire” really need are New Deal programs, he proposes. The administration should “move vigorously to put people back to work. You should have seen cranes and construction stuff everywhere,” he says. Obama should have revived the CCC and other programs to get us back to full employment — because as he points out, that’s the only real panacea to get us out of crisis.
And where is Wall Street now? “The invisible hand is just waving goodbye,” quips Ferguson. Watch the full interview:
by ilene - September 6th, 2010 4:10 pm
Courtesy of Mish
It’s Labor Day. The markets are closed. Those working for government, banks, schools etc have the day off. All totaled, 17.3 million citizens do not have a job today nor a job they can return to on Tuesday. Another 8.9 million will not work as many hours as they would like, this week, next week, or the week after that.
How NOT to End the Great Recession
In a New York Times Op-Ed, Robert B. Reich, a secretary of labor in the Clinton administration, and professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley comes to all the wrong conclusions about where we are, how we got here, and what to do about it. (Robert Reich’s "The Real Lesson of Labor Day" here.)
Please consider How to End the Great Recession
Reich: THIS promises to be the worst Labor Day in the memory of most Americans. Organized labor is down to about 7 percent of the private work force. Members of non-organized labor — most of the rest of us — are unemployed, underemployed or underwater.
Mish Comment: When organized labor is at 0%, both public and private, we will be on our way to prosperity. Organized labor in conjunction with piss poor management bankrupted GM and countless other manufacturing companies. Now, public unions, in cooperation with corrupt politicians have bankrupted countless cities and states.
Reich: The Labor Department reported on Friday that just 67,000 new private-sector jobs were created in August, while at least 125,000 are needed to keep up with the growth of the potential work force.
The national economy isn’t escaping the gravitational pull of the Great Recession. None of the standard booster rockets are working: near-zero short-term interest rates from the Fed, almost record-low borrowing costs in the bond market, a giant stimulus package and tax credits for small businesses that hire the long-term unemployed have all failed to do enough.
That’s because the real problem has to do with the structure of the economy, not the business cycle. No booster rocket can work unless consumers are able, at some point, to keep the economy moving on their own. But consumers no longer have the purchasing power to buy the goods
by ilene - August 31st, 2010 1:33 am
The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama.
DiZerega, who has lost touch with Charles [Koch], eventually abandoned right-wing views, and became a political-science professor. He credits Charles with opening his mind to political philosophy, which set him on the path to academia; Charles is one of three people to whom he dedicated his first book. But diZerega believes that the Koch brothers have followed a wayward intellectual trajectory, transferring their father’s paranoia about Soviet Communism to a distrust of the U.S. government, and seeing its expansion, beginning with the New Deal, as a tyrannical threat to freedom. In an essay, posted on Beliefnet, diZerega writes, “As state socialism failed . . . the target for many within these organizations shifted to any kind of regulation at all. ‘Socialism’ kept being defined downwards.”
Members of the John Birch Society developed an interest in a school of Austrian economists who promoted free-market ideals. Charles and David Koch were particularly influenced by the work of Friedrich von Hayek, the author of “The Road to Serfdom” (1944), which argued that centralized government planning led, inexorably, to totalitarianism. Hayek’s belief in unfettered capitalism has proved inspirational to many conservatives, and to anti-Soviet dissidents; lately, Tea Party supporters have championed his work. In June, the talk-radio host Glenn Beck, who has supported the Tea Party rebellion, promoted “The Road to Serfdom” on his show; the paperback soon became a No. 1 best-seller on Amazon. (Beck appears to be a fan of the Kochs; in the midst of a recent on-air parody of Al Gore, Beck said, without explanation, “I want to thank Charles Koch for this information.” Beck declined to elaborate on the relationship.)
As their fortunes grew, Charles and David Koch became the primary underwriters of hard-line libertarian politics in America. Charles’s goal, as Doherty described it, was to tear the government “out at the root.” The brothers’ first major public step came in 1979, when Charles persuaded David, then thirty-nine, to run for public office. They had become supporters of the Libertarian Party, and were backing its Presidential candidate, Ed Clark, who was running against Ronald Reagan from the right. Frustrated by the legal limits on campaign donations, they contrived to place David on the ticket, in the Vice-Presidential slot; upon becoming a candidate, he could lavish…
by phil - August 15th, 2010 11:15 am
What are people thinking?
It is interesting to see so many of the same people calling for a "double dip" recession while at the same time railing against government spending. The US Government is spending $3.5Tn this year. Admittedly that's $1.5Tn more than they have, but it's quite a lot of money no matter how you look at it. Conservative, born-again deficit hawks (they were born-again the day Obama was elected) will tell you the solution is to cut taxes and let corporations trickle their wealth down on the bottom 99%, well over 20% of whom are unemployed or under-employed.
The Big Lie being told by the right is that we can solve our problems by cutting spending and (ROFL) lowering taxes. Let's put lowering taxes over to the side and look at cutting spending. By far, our single biggest discretionary line item is Defense, at $782Bn a year. The sum total of all other discretionary spending is only $437Bn so cutting 100% of non-defense discretionary government spending would knock not even 1/3 off our $1.5Tn debt.
What exactly would be included if we make all or part of those $437Bn in cutbacks? Here's a great chart from Wallstats on Death and Taxes, which I think every deficit hawk should buy the poster of (6 square feet) and put in their office with red lines through all the programs they can do without. Try it, it's fun – see how much money you can save!
Of course, let's keep in mind that the $1.5Tn the government spends directly employs 2.7M people and millions more indirectly so, for every person you cut, make sure you add back $20,000 a year for unemployment benefits and administration (or are we going to throw them all on the street?). So that's, unfortunately, $20Bn spent for every million jobs you destroy. Gosh, this game gets complicated, doesn't it? Here's a nice chart you can throw darts at and see how many of these guys you can kick to the curb by Christmas because that'll fix the economy, won't it? Don't worry, I'm sure none of them are your customers because surely you don't deal with THOSE kind of people: